Water woes

May 18, 2017

Fresno's water supply is resembling that of Flint, Michigan, critics say, and residents are not happy.


Fresno Bee's TIM SHEEHAN: "A second group of northeast Fresno residents are suing the city over water problems – including lead and discoloration – that they say lasted for years before officials took concerted action to solve the concerns."

"Brian Kabateck, an attorney from Los Angeles, is leading the team representing homeowners Jackie Flannery, Guadalupe Meza, Ronda Rafidi, Shann Conner, Marirose Larkin, Patricia Wallace-Rixman, Harry Rixman and Kelly Unruh in the potential class-action suit filed Wednesday in Fresno County Superior Court."

"The case revolves around water provided by the city’s Northeast Surface Water Treatment Facility. It treats canal water from Millerton and Pine Flat lakes to distribute to about 15,000 homes and other water customers throughout that part of the city."


READ MORE related to Environment: Many California courthouse buildings are seismically unsafe, state study says --OC Register's SEAN EMERY; You could fill Shasta Lake 7 times with farm groundwater lost during state drought -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW/PHILLIP REESE


FOX News CEO/founder Roger Ailes has passed away.


The Hill's ELLIOT SMILOWITZ: "Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes died Thursday morning at 77, Fox News reported."

"The network shared a statement from Ailes’s wife Elizabeth Ailes announcing the death. The statement was first obtained by conservative website The Drudge Report."

"I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,” the statement said."


Assessor Kathleen Kelleher's office is under three separate investigations according to Sacramento officials.


Sacramento Bee's BRAD BRANAN/ELLEN GARRISON: "Sacramento County has ordered three investigations this year into the office of Assessor Kathleen Kelleher, who resigned Friday and cited health reasons, The Sacramento Bee has learned."

The county hired an outside law firm in January to investigate whether top officials in the Assessor’s Office benefited from lower tax bills, among dozens of other claims. The county also launched two internal probes on May 8 to examine issues that remain undisclosed."

Kelleher, who was first elected to the $168,000 post in 2010, denied all allegations of wrongdoing in an interview with The Bee. She pointed to a state review that found properties owned by her and others in her office were properly appraised."


READ MORE related to Local: Tom Steyer testing waters for California gubernatorial bid -- The Hill's REID WILSON; Free booze and celebrity appearances: How candidates for governor will court Californida Democrats this weekend -- LA Times' SEEMA MEHTA; Issa's reactions trigger social media storm -- Union-Tribune's JOSHUA STEWART; Jolted by Trump, Orange County Democrats see a shot at victory on GOP turf -- LA Times' SARAH D. WIRE


Fear of government intervention and detention is driving San Francisco's decline in food stamp use.


The Chronicle's TARA DUGGAN: "Since the election, fewer eligible San Franciscans are taking advantage of food stamp benefits because of fears about immigration crackdowns under the Trump administration, said Trent Rhorer, executive director of San Francisco’s Human Services Agency."

"The city is concerned by a recent spike of withdrawals from CalFresh, or food stamps, among eligible households with at least one noncitizen. According to Rhorer, the political climate has sparked a rash of questions from participants, ranging from whether their personal information would be released to the federal government to whether the administration will cut food stamp benefits to immigrants."

"The impact to those eligible families, and to the city, could be significant if trends continue."


READ MORE related to Economy: California budget panel seeks new limits on state tax board funding and staffing -- LA Times' PATRICK MCGREEVY; More organizations join in opposition to LA's 2024 Olympic bid -- LA Times' DAVID WHARTON; Judge questions Wells Fargo's $142m class-action settlement over sham accounts -- LA Times' JAMES RUFUS KOREN


Speaking of taxes and surplus, yesterday's UC regents meeting was disrupted by an angry student mob for those very reasons.


LA Times' TERESA WATANABE: "A stinging state audit of University of California budget operations cast a long shadow over a UC regents meeting Wednesday, as students and union members chastised officials for raising tuition while squirreling away millions."

On Thursday, State Auditor Elaine Howle will talk to the regents about her findings that the UC Office of the President failed to disclose $175 million in surplus funds, paid excessive salaries and inappropriately interfered in campuses’ replies to her auditors’ confidential surveys."


"But many of those who spoke during public comments on Wednesday were in no mood to wait for the agenda item. They said that if the UC Office of the President had extra money stashed away, it should not only have avoided a 2.5% tuition hike next fall but raised pay for low-wage workers and given homeless and sometimes hungry students more support."


READ MORE related to Education: This California bill to give students free or low-cost bus passes may already be dead -- Daily News' STEVE SCAUZILLO; Trump backs California charter schools, but the feeling isn't mutual -- KPCC's KYLE STOKES; Researchers, advocates divided over reclassifying English learners -- EdSource's JOHN FENSTERWALD


House Democrat Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, who is pushing for a bill to create a bipartisan, 12 member panel ala 9/11 Commission -- and all House Democrats are behind him.


Mercury News: "As controversy roiled the Capitol over the latest damaging reports about the Trump administration, House Democrats launched a procedural fight Wednesday to create an independent commission into Russian interference in the U.S. election."

"I hope the latest news provokes an urgency to act,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, whose bill would create a bipartisan, 12-member panel in the mold of the 9/11 Commission. It’s supported by all 197 House Democrats and two House Republicans."


“If there was ever a time for Republicans and Democrats to unite and say this democracy is worth protecting, it’s now,” Swalwell said."


READ MORE related to Kremlingate: What Donald Trump can learn from Richard Nixon -- The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO; 'Putin pays' Trump: Lame joke or serious charge? -- WaPo's CALLUM BORCHERS; How Trump might fend off an obstruction of justice claim -- LA Times' DAVID G. SAVAGE; Trump team knew Flynn was under investigation before he came to White House -- NYT's MATTHEW ROSENBERG/MARK MAZZETTI; Trump blames everyone but himself for his problems. The Justice Department just blamed him -- WaPo's AARON BLAKE




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